The Kansas Senate has confirmed Governor Laura Kelly’s commerce secretary despite vocal opposition from some Republicans and the state’s most influential anti-abortion group.

The vote Monday on Secretary David Toland was 23-14.  If the Republican-controlled Senate had rejected him, Toland would have been forced to step down.

Toland formerly served 11 years as executive director of the Iola-based economic development group Thrive Allen County.  He earned praise from business leaders and local chambers of commerce across the state.

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life opposed his confirmation.  Thrive Allen County received two grants totaling less than $20,000 to promote women’s health from a fund named for the late abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Local politics also generated opposition and Toland served as Kelly’s unpaid campaign treasurer last year.